Mike Jacobs

Senior energy analyst

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Michael Jacobs is a senior energy analyst with expertise in electricity markets, transmission and renewables integration work. See Mike's full bio.

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Energy Collision Coming: Technology Evolved, Why Haven’t Utilities?

Our modern economy depends on electricity, the miracle technology of the 19th century.  Many old policies and practices of the electric utility industry have stuck with us into the 21st century.  Electricity has had heroes and villains along the way, as well as enormous accomplishments of engineering, public service and safety.  While economics and public attitudes have changed about many things since the first electric bill was sent in January 1883, there are tools and techniques, as well as attitudes in the utility industry that do not change as much.  To serve society and maintain a healthy environment, we need a utility industry open to modern ideas and new approaches.

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Photo: Famartin/Wikimedia Commons
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Photo: AWEA

How Big is Gridlock in our Electric Grid?

Progress in electric power, particularly the growth of renewable energy and consumer choice, is looking like gridlock.  Look closer and we can see three fundamental issues: state policy vs. federal policy; changing perspectives on reliability, and how electric grid planning should accommodate the ongoing transition to renewable energy. We even have gridlock in the appointment and continuity of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that oversees much of the decision making in these spaces.

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Getting to 100% Clean Energy—and the Grid Operators that Stand in the Way

Who is in charge, and where are they leading us? Read more >

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Photo: William Hope

Wind vs. Gas: Winter Wind Beats New Pipelines

With the cold weather upon us, and a lot of debate about how to supply our energy needs, we can take a look at the power of wind.  Wind is actually stronger in the wintertime when it gets colder. The advantages of using wind to reduce natural gas needs in cold weather are real, and especially relevant to the debate over whether or not it makes sense to invest more into gas pipelines.

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Photo: William Hope
photo by Mike Jacobs
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As we change the power grid, we need to keep the standards that have guided good utility practice. Photo: Mike Jacobs

There is a Standard for Comparing Power Plant Closings with Energy Shortages; Let’s Use it!

The debate about modernizing our energy system has been marred by shifting claims that we need old power plants. We are replacing fossil fuels with steady and rapid adoption of clean renewable energy, and more efficient buildings and appliances and we need to keep the basic reliability principles front and center. The latest analysis from the electricity grid operator in the Mid-Atlantic US, leaves out a crucial piece.

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